The Reentry Project
The Reentry Project is managed by a Steering Committee of formerly incarcerated women and men, service providers, educators and advocates. It addresses barriers to community reentry, with a focus on improving access to housing and employment.
In 2010, the Reentry Project released a position paper — Barred from Housing – that challenged the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) to make housing accessible to people with criminal backgrounds. Under current CHA-set policies, a formerly incarcerated person must wait at least five years to apply for housing or rejoin their families. Our findings were based on a 2-year study that included Steering Committee interviews with researchers and government officials.
With support gathered by community leaders on the committee, more than 115 providers, non-profits and political leaders have endorsed this position paper.
After a year’s advocacy, the CHA administration announced that it would adopt our recommendation to allow someone with a criminal background to show proof they have changed their lives. This process would occur when an ex-offender submits a housing application, and would notify applicants of an appeal process should they be denied. In 2012, the Reentry Committee has been meeting with the CHA’s new administration to implement this change.
For more information, contact Community Organizer Rachel Ramirez.